Posted at 11:08 AM on July 1, 2011
by Paul Tosto
We reported Friday that Minnesota loggers had gone to court to let them continue logging in state forests up north.
It appears they've received some relief. The Minnesota Timber Producers Association says a Koochiching County district court judge "issued a temporary restraining order early this morning against the state of Minnesota that allows logging to continue in state forests during the government shutdown."
Loggers sought the move after the DNR halted timber harvesting on state lands leading up to the shutdown. Loggers pay the state to take timber from state lands. Closing that off would have caused them "immediate irreparable harm" their lawyer said.
The judge said loggers "can continue current harvesting operations in state forests, but that no new harvesting operations can be started," the timber group said.
MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson interviewed Dale Erickson, one of the northern Minnesota loggers who asked for the restraining order. Erickson says it's a matter of the state honoring it's contracts.
"First and foremost we've done no wrong. and we have obligations. We have obligations to meet, contracts to fill," Erickson said. "It's important. If there was any assurance it was a two day thing you wouldn't go to this bother. But who knows?"
Erickson says the ruling affects more than 100 active contracts between loggers and the state.
Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 11th in International Falls.